Art Projects International

Jian-Jun Zhang – Time Chapter: Chelsea

Zhang Jian-Jun, Time Chapter: Hongcun Village, 2004, oil paint on photograph, 39 1/4 x 48 inches

Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographically based work by Jian-Jun Zhang, Time Chapter: Chelsea, organized by Jung Lee Sanders of Art Projects International. This series is Zhang’s latest project and is being shown, for the first time and appropriately, in the neighborhood that also provided the inspiration for and subject of the work.

In the series Time Chapter: Chelsea the artist paints and draws over photographs he has taken of buildings in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, subtly yet significantly altering the architecture of the depicted buildings. Many currents running through the 20th and 21st centuries’ art and architecture cross here—the added shapes bring to mind the tradition of European modernism and specifically Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut of 1955. Frank Gehry’s swooping concave and convex forms of his Guggenheim Museum Bilbao of 1997 also come to mind. Of course, Zhang’s painted photographs are works of art and not propositions for real architecture. Using oil and graphite Zhang, for example, adds curvy, sculptural stylizations that seamlessly alter the blocky roofline of a brick building. Significantly, as well as the alterations to the Chelsea buildings’ images, one of the works is an alteration of his recent photograph of a historic building in China. The building in the photograph is located in Hongcun Village in the Southern Anhui Province; it was built during the Ming dynasty, around 1500 AD, in the style of the Hui School of Architecture. Zhang’s interest in the conceptual side of the Time Chapter works is emphasized when one looks at the reflecting pool in front of the altered building. Zhang’s alteration–its curved and obliquely angled forms rising from one side of this 500-year-old building–like a ghost or a thought cannot be seen reflected in the water. As Zhang says, he is creating a “societal landscape,” one where, whether he is manipulating an image of a building in Chelsea or one half way around the world in China, his aim is not to efface but to meld disparate concepts and histories, disparate types of visual information, and make yet a third thing–a multifaceted, multi-media, object for contemplation.


Jian-Jun Zhang, born in Shanghai, China, lives and works in New York and Shanghai. Whether working with photography, intimate drawings on paper or large indoor and outdoor installations, Zhang sites influences ranging as broadly as Asian philosophies of antiquity and 20th century Western art. Zhang has shown extensively in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Recent exhibitions include Mountain and Water, Art Projects International, New York, NY (2003); Diverseworks Art Center, Houston, TX (2003); Fourth Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2002); and the First Guangzhou Triennial, Guandong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2002).

Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), one of this country’s preeminent performing arts institutions, is devoted to innovative dance, performing and visual artists. DTW offers services and presentational opportunities that enable artists to create and show their work. DTW stimulates public dialogue, broader audiences and expanded contexts for contemporary art.

Art Projects International (API), founded in 1993, is a New York based gallery specializing in contemporary art, with a focus on works by leading contemporary artists from Asia. API is noted for its representation of critically acclaimed artists with broad interests and diverse backgrounds.

For more information on Jian-Jun Zhang contact Art Projects International.

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